There are so many creative people who have some of the most adorable ideas for Bible crafts. If you are at home crafting with your kids to entertain them or teach them a craft, these activities are great. Unfortunately, if you are teaching a Bible class, some of the cutest crafts add no learning value to your lesson.
Most Bible class teachers don’t have nearly enough time in Bible class. They need to make sure every minute is well used. For some children, the only Bible they will ever be taught is what they are taught in the classroom. With the stakes so high, we need to make sure the crafts we choose for children’s Bible classes are also adding some educational value to the lesson.
If you are deciding what craft activity to do in your next Bible lesson, what questions should you be asking yourself about the craft? Questions, that will help you choose the best possible craft to extend learning for your students.
- Does this craft require students to think about or process the Bible lesson in order to complete it? This is the basic difference between a coloring sheet and allowing children to create their own artistic representation of the Bible story. With a coloring sheet, students are merely thinking about what colors or designs to use within the pre-drawn picture. Original art requires students to think back over the lesson and recall the various elements in order to create an accurate depiction.
- Does this craft help students understand the lesson better? Perhaps your lesson involved the Temple. A craft like building a scale model can help students better understand what everything was that was mentioned in the lesson (and why those things were important).
- Does this craft encourage students to think about the lesson outside of class? Some crafts will encourage students to continue thinking about and processing parts of the lesson at home. A student created prayer journal, for example can help remind students to pray.
- Is this craft something my students are physically able to do at their age and/or developmental level? For example, avoid choosing crafts that requiring lots of cutting for a toddler class. They just don’t have the fine motor skills to do a lot of accurate cutting at their age.
- Will this craft actually make it home from Bible class? Things happen, but in decades of church attendance, I can tell you I see a lot more coloring sheets left behind than scripture pillows or prayer rocks. If a craft doesn’t make it home, the extra potential educational value is left behind, too.
- Is it something the student will want to display at home for a long time? If a craft does have educational value, but looks cheaply made, it may end up in the trash immediately. Just like crafts left behind, crafts immediately thrown away at home have no additional educational value. It’s worth spending a few extra pennies to find slightly nicer materials. (You don’t have to go crazy. With kids, you want some element of “homemade” in the finished craft.)
Not every craft will have all of these elements. The more of them the craft has though, the more likely it is that it is adding educational value to your lesson and that learning will continue at home after class. It’s worth taking a little extra time and effort to choose a meaningful craft.